Volleyball to play Ball State on Friday

By Mike Romor

Following a strenuous 14-match road trip, volleyball will play in DeKalb for the first time in a month.

The first home match for the Huskies (10-8, 1-1 MAC) since Aug. 28, will be against conference rival Ball State (9-6, 2-0 MAC) Friday.

“It’s good to be home,” said coach Ray Gooden. “We’re just happy to be home and get another chance to get better from last weekend. It’s good to get a chance to sleep in our own beds and get a chance to see people we haven’t seen in a while that we are used to seeing.”

The Cardinals have won their last five matches, dropping only two sets during the streak.

Gooden knows his team needs to be nearly perfect on offense in order to top the perennial MAC contenders.

“Anybody in our conference, let alone our division, is going to be a really tough match,” Gooden said. “Those guys come in 2-0, as expected, and they’re playing solid volleyball. Their coach, Steve Shondell, does a great job with his program and they will give us another big battle.”

The Huskies will rely heavily on outside hitters Meghan Romo and MacKenzie Roddy. When they perform at a consistent level, the team finds success.

Romo and Roddy produce over 50 percent of the Huskies’ offense. In NIU’s win against Central Michigan, the two combined for 36 of the team’s 56 kills. In the Huskies’ loss to Eastern Michigan, the duo was responsible for only 16 of the team’s 43 kills.

“We need to play very consistent volleyball,” Gooden said. “That’s been our thing, where when we’ve played consistently we’ve fared well. We did a fairly good job against Central Michigan, especially toward the end, and that helped us. We didn’t play as consistent against Eastern. So now we realize if we can play consistent, we put ourselves in a very good spot to be successful.”